Expat-owned dog shelter in Qatar fears mass dumping of abandoned pets

Published:  1 Jul at 6 PM
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Dog rescue centres in Qatar are fearing mass dumping as expats are forced to leave.

Expatriates in the emirate number 90 per cent of its total population, with many being forced to leave at short notice and unable to arrange for their pets to be shipped out to the home country. One dog shelter is already seeing an increase in numbers of strays on the streets as well as abandoned pets being delivered to their shelter. Sadly, dependent on expats’ home country rules about bringing in dogs, many repatriating expats simply don’t have enough time before their permissions to stay run out to arrange the compulsory, time-dependent vaccinations required by most world countries.

The Paws shelter is run by its expatriate co-founder Alison Caldwell and has a capacity of just 30 dogs and 60 cats, a tiny number as against the numbers of pets who’ll simply be abandoned by their owners. Although the emirate doesn’t have any statistics as regards street dogs, Alison believes their numbers must run into thousands. The shelter can arrange shipping for dogs adopted by would-be owners living overseas, but the coronavirus lockdown and flight cancellations have put an end to this and prevented several dogs from leaving for their forever homes in the West.

The centre is now arranging fostering for as many dogs as they can find kind-hearted expats willing to shelter them until flights restart and overseas adoptions can take place. Before the lockdowns began , the shelter had involved local schools and encouraged youngsters to volunteer and interact with the rescued dogs, but schools are now suspended and the children can’t come. The shelter’s not-for-profit, depending solely on donations and volunteers to keep going, and those kind enough to give their time often fall in love with one special dog, taking them with them when they leave.
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